Almost a month ago, The Guardian was warning that the Afghanistan “peace talks”, which General David Petraeus was claiming to aid by transporting key Taliban figures, had “less than meets the eye“. However, on Tuesday, the New York Times revealed that the “key” figure who had been meeting with NATO and Afghan officials was not Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, who is believed to be second in command in the Taliban behind Mullah Omar. In fact, the Washington Post went so far as to point out that the impostor was “a lowly shopkeeper from the Pakistani city of Quetta.” This development is a remarkable setback for Petraeus and NATO, especially because there have been so many claims about the famed “biometric database” that has been developed for rapid identification of insurgents. The equipment used in this endeavor has been given the rather unfortunate acronym “HIDE”, for Handheld Interagency Detection Equipment. Because of HIDE, it will be very difficult for Petraeus to hide from the failure of his intelligence operatives to determine that “Mansour” was an impostor.
|By: Jim White Tuesday November 23, 2010 7:30 am|